Having experienced the funding struggles so many South African business owners do, Lulalend CEO and Entrepreneur Trevor Gosling knew how important it would be to partner with someone who could supercharge the online business funding platform with technology to solve a key issue: speed. When he joined forces with co-founder Neil Welman, whose engineering background has given him a knack for using software to solve problems, the result was a fast and friendly user experience tailored to the needs of busy and underserved entrepreneurs, which was both secure and scalable – the Lulalend platform as you know it today.
Neil’s work never ends and technology is ever-evolving. If he’s not working with our team to add even more robust site features or finding ways to improve and streamline our already airtight processes, there’s a good chance he’s mapping out the next steps in our big picture plans. We did manage to steal a few minutes to pick Neil’s brain on all things fintech, and its ability to break down the barriers to financial inclusivity for South African SMEs.
How do you believe tech has influenced the finance industry over the last 10 years or so?
It has had a major impact on reducing the underbanked sector, and for the consumer it has meant a far better experience in terms of connecting and engaging with financial services.
How does this benefit South African consumers?
It means so much more opportunity. SA has a much higher banked population than the African average and well established credit bureaus, this is a big enabler for a digital financial ecosystem to evolve.
What was the thinking behind creating the tech that powers the Lulalend platform? What were your key objectives in this process?
When we researched the challenges small businesses have with accessing funding we quickly realized that time and cost of an assessment were the main limiting factors. We felt using technology was the way to solve these and so set out to fully digitize and automate the entire experience of accessing funding.
How does Lulalend’s technology support speed, security and the overall experience for our community?
Having all our risk assessment models hosted on our platform allows us to automate the entire process. This eliminates the key operational cost usually associated with assessment, and allows us to offer funding for even relatively small amounts at a lower cost.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced working on a platform like this?
When you design a platform like this the key goals to achieve are security, performance, scalability, implementing business functionality and ensuring you always have sufficient tech talent to achieve these. Each one will present a challenge at various points along the way but if you keep proactively focusing on each the challenge is always manageable.
How do you see the platform evolving as we grow our community and our offerings?
We plan to become more of an ecosystem to assist small business owners achieve their potential by assisting in all financial areas.